Arnold Fabrikant: Eastern Europe, Jews & Thinking Outside Stereotypes

Many students leave a Modern European Jewish History class with the following assumptions: Western European Jews were enlightened and gave birth to modern Judaism and haskalah while Eastern European Jews were traditional and resistant to haskalah. The story of Eastern European Jews typically centers on those Jews who lived in the shtetlach and were confined to the Pale of settlement and are portrayed as traditionally religious and insular.  This lesson plan about " Eastern Europe, Jews, and Thinking Outside the Stereotypes" gives a more accurate account of Eastern European Jewry, following the story of the Eastern European Jews into cities like Odessa and explores an important factor in both Western and Eastern European Jewish history: geography -- rural versus urban settings, such as the Pale of Settlement region versus the port city of Odessa. Centropa’s film on Arnold Fabrikant provides a counterpoint to the stereotypical teaching of Eastern European Jewish history.